Back to School: Topics to Discuss with Kids Before the Year Starts

Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by user

Ah, yes. The dreaded back to school planning. On the one hand, you’ve got some extra hours of kid-free time coming your way. On the other hand, you’ve now got to run around buying school supplies and changing your entire schedule. There are so many things to talk about with your kids before they return to the classroom, so it’s great that you’re getting started now!

In addition to the school year being unusual with the possibility of COVID restrictions still in place, there are a few other topics you may want to discuss with your child before you send them back to school. Not every child is willing to dive back in. Not every child is ready to face their bullies or the daunting amount of homework in store for them. Some may want to do a few too many extracurriculars, and you might find yourself searching for the funds to afford it all.

Getting your household ready for school is difficult enough, so check out these topics to discuss with your children that can drastically improve the process. You may even find that your kids want to talk about these things as much as you do!

A father helps his son with homework.

Adjusting from Summer to School Days

Not every child is going to enjoy a full day of learning and no play. Especially after they’ve had fun summer activities filling their days for the last three months. For many children and teens, it can be difficult to stay focused for an entire day of learning, and the adjustment after summer can be hard. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, and you know as well as we do that every child is different.

So, what do you do if your kid isn’t loving school or isn’t ready to switch back to learning mode? As beneficial as it would be to have your children sit down and focus for a few hours a day on being creative or continuing their education during the summer months, sometimes that is just not in the cards for your family.

The next best way you can ease them back into school is to talk to them. Set expectations. As obvious as that seems, some parents might forget this crucial step when lost in the flurry of back to school prep.

Begin the conversation by asking questions like,

  • “What did you enjoy last year that you’re looking forward to again?”
  • “Are any of your classes exciting you this year?”
  • “What are a few ways you can help yourself stay focused during class?”
  • “Do you have any friends who can help you with homework and study?”
  • “Do you need my help with any upcoming changes?”

That last question is vital if you want to let your children know they can come to you with anything. ‘Changes’ can cover everything scholastic, but this should also cover things like work load, making friends, and even bullying.

Preparing for School Bullies

As much as we all would love to protect our children from bullies, it’s very likely that they will experience some form of bullying at some point. While unfortunate and upsetting, it is very common, since some children are still figuring out how to appropriately cope with their own emotions and communicate and treat others with kindness. With social media and how easy it is to access the internet, bullying has become easier than ever. Some situations are worse than others, and some may even require your involvement and intervention.

A young girl is bullied at school.

No matter the severity of the bullying, we highly recommend you speak with your child before the school year starts. Get their feelings and perspective on the issue. If they’ve never been bullied, ask them what they would do if it happened. Ask them how they would handle it and if they would ask for help.

If your child has been bullied regularly in the past, you should take the time to work it out with them. Are they feeling nervous about facing their bullies? Have the teachers and staff at their school done anything, or are they aware of the situation? Offer your child a few avenues to deal with their bullies and make sure they know that you will do all you can to keep them safe.

Additionally, what if your child is the bully? While this isn’t something any of us want from our children, you should be prepared to deal with it if it happens. We know your kids are learning to deal with their emotions and work with others in a safe way, but just like everyone, they’re still learning. That’s why the best solution you can implement with your kids is to talk to them, do a little research, and utilize any resources in their school and community.

You’re doing your best to raise well-rounded and thoughtful children, which is why sometimes all they need to recognize that their behavior is incorrect is for you to sit down and go over their feelings with them. Offering them alternative ways to work through their emotions can be a great way to redirect their intentions onto something better!

Bullies are no small thing. Getting ahead of the problem, whether there’s one already or not, can help your child feel supported and safe when they return to school this year.

Check out these great solutions for dealing with bullies, and make sure your child knows their options!

COVID Restrictions

Something none of us saw coming last year was COVID-19. Not only did this absolutely upend all normal activities, but many of us have had to learn a few things about homeschooling! Luckily we’re back in school this year, but let’s make sure you’re aware of what to expect.

The first thing you can do to get ahead of the new policies is to look at the restrictions and permissions in your school district. If their website does not list COVID information, you can even give the office a call. Otherwise, these guidelines from the CDC are a great place to start!

A mother sanitizes her son's hands.

Keep in mind your child’s unique health issues if any, and make sure they know to take any COVID restrictions seriously.

Back to School Shopping

Do you remember how fun it was to go shopping for all of your new notebooks, backpacks, lunch boxes, pencils, and anything else you could convince your parents to get for you?

While it may be less fun to be the one paying for everything, it is so rewarding to watch your kids’ faces light up when they choose their new backpack and supplies. So let’s focus on the positives of this time of year by making sure you’re ready to go when the time comes.

You can do your future self a huge favor by putting aside a little money every two weeks or every month specific for back to school. This can be as little as $5 or as much as you can afford. Set the money aside and make sure you don’t touch it. Your future self will also thank you for thinking about things like:

  • Do my children need new clothing, and is thrifting an option? What about giving them their own budget and letting them choose where and how to spend it?
  • Speaking of COVID and homeschooling, do I want to invest in my kids’ future by buying them a tablet? Is this worth the cost?
  • How many supplies and notebooks did my children use last year? How can we avoid waste this time around?
  • Do my children require additional help, such as tutoring?
  • Which extracurricular activities do my children want to participate in, and how do we prioritize them?

This planning and prep will help you feel more organized and at ease when your child heads back to school. We know you’ll be glad you thought ahead!

Extracurricular Activities

Every child could benefit from exploring their interests via extracurriculars like sports, clubs, and even running for student body. While not every child will want to do these things, getting them involved in their school’s extracurriculars has actually been proven to help students socially, academically, and with college admissions.

Cartoon bubbles show different extracurricular activities.

As good as extracurricular activities are for your kids, wow can they be expensive! Rather than struggling to support your child with their every desire, we suggest giving your kids a few options that you can actually afford and have time for, then letting them choose what they think will be the most fun or helpful to their future.

Research your school’s extracurricular activities with your kid next to you. Ask them what they’re interested in and make a list, figure out which ones you can work into your budget, and then offer them a choice.

It will also be beneficial to talk about any extracurricular activities you did when you were their age. Which ones were helpful for college admissions, vs. which ones were just for fun? Did you regret not doing more, or did you do too many? Your kids value your input, so sharing your experiences can be the most helpful part of this whole process!

Getting them a Boost

Last but not least, consider getting your kids involved with online math tutoring now. The summer months can really drain your kids’ knowledge of more difficult subjects, and the last thing you’d want is for them to feel lost when the school year starts up again.

Online tutoring is also a great way to keep your kids in the learning mindset and used to staying focused for an hour or more a day. They may be resistant to math tutoring, especially when the bright sunshine or their friends are calling them, but you know best what will help them in the long run!

Consider getting an online tutor for difficult subjects like math, and your kids may just thank you when they return to school in the fall. They can even get a step ahead and have a foundational understanding of the topics their teachers are introducing in the classroom. This can help them jump into the next school year with a big boost of confidence!

You’ve got this!

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